If you require a filling in your tooth, a cosmetic option would be to choose a white filling material that matches the shade of your surrounding natural teeth. The other option is to have a traditional ‘amalgam’ filling in the back teeth. Your dentist will discuss the options and costs with you.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the pulp inside your tooth becomes infected through tooth decay or damaged by an injury to your mouth. This infection may spread through the root canal system and could eventually lead to an abscess, causing a great deal of discomfort. If root canal treatment is not carried out, the tooth may need to be taken out.
Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure and some courses of treatment will involve two or more visits.
A crown is a cap that is placed over a tooth and held in place by dental adhesive or cement. The dentist will prepare the tooth, take an impression or a scan which is sent to the laboratory. A dental technician will then make the crown. In the meantime, the patient will have a temporary crown, before they return to have it fitted.
Crowns are used for several reasons:
- As a protective cover for badly decayed teeth or fractured teeth
- As a permanent restoration for teeth with large fillings
- As a protective cover after a tooth has had root canal treatment
Crowns are made from either non precious metal, precious metal, metal bonded to porcelain, or entirely porcelain. An entirely porcelain crown achieves a very natural result, and allows the crown to blend in with the patient’s natural teeth.
Inlays and Onlays
Inlays or onlays can be made from a number of strong materials such as metals, ceramic or composite.
An inlay is a small filling that fits into the biting surface of a tooth. An onlay covers a larger area of the tooth and is better suited to bigger cavities, and can also be placed as an alternative to a crown after root canal treatment.
A denture is a removable prosthesis used to replace missing teeth. Commonly referred to as ‘false teeth’, a denture is usually made of acrylic or a combination of acrylic and metal. A partial denture is fitted to replace some missing teeth whilst a complete denture is indicated when all natural teeth are missing. A good set of dentures helps you to eat, speak, function, and often improves a person’s appearance.
Depending on the complexity of each case, the duration of the treatment will vary. After the initial visit of examination and diagnosis, the subsequent visits will include taking impressions of the mouth, bite registration, try-in of the denture, fitting and review.
Oral Cancer Screening
Studies show that mouth cancer is on the increase and that early detection dramatically improves the chances of recovery. Late detection of mouth cancers has resulted in a higher proportion of deaths per number of cases than breast cancer, cervical cancer or skin melanoma, with about 2,700 deaths per year in the UK. Mouth cancer screening is a simple procedure performed at our dental practice with every check-up.
If you have any sores, lumps or long-term ulcers in your mouth, no matter how small, it is very important that you come in to have it looked at. Because smoking is strongly linked with many forms of cancer and other dental problems, we always encourage our patients to quit smoking. An excellent source of information is the Mouth Cancer Foundation if you require any further information.
It is important to wear a professionally made mouthguard whenever you play sport that involves physical contact or moving objects. This includes: cricket, hockey, lacrosse, boxing and rugby.
Sports mouthguards are not available on the NHS, but can be provided on a private basis.
Hygiene appointments help prevent gum disease.
Gum disease causes inflammation of the tissue that surround teeth and, if this is left untreated, it can lead to recession of the gums and losing your teeth. The cleaner your teeth, the less likely you are to develop gum disease.
Regularly visiting a hygienist will help you maintain healthy teeth and gums. One of the main aspects of the hygienist’s role is to carry out a ‘scale and polish’, a thorough clean of the teeth to remove plaque and tartar build-up. The hygienist can also use special equipment such as “Air Flow” which removes staining caused by smoking, tea and coffee.
Hygienists also offer helpful hygiene advice and demonstrate how to keep your teeth clean and plaque-free with toothbrushes, interdental brushes and floss.
For younger patients, hygienists can apply fluoride varnishes to strengthen enamel or fissure sealants, which provide a protective barrier to stop bacteria settling in the narrow fissures of the back teeth. These treatments offer a protective measure for young teeth when they first start to emerge.
Gum Disease Care
Gum disease occurs when your gums become under attack from bacteria that grows on lingering plaque and tartar. We can treat gum disease in its early stages, which is why it’s important that you see a dentist regularly, as they can help identify if you have gum disease and remove plaque that can cause the condition.
Although not always obvious, symptoms of gum disease can include bleeding when you brush, swollen gums, bad breath and sensitive teeth.
If gum disease has developed beyond the early stages, a thorough clean under the gums, known as root surface debridement, can remove the build-up of bacteria from the root surface, which can reduce inflammation of the gum tissue.
The chief risk factors for gum disease are poor oral hygiene, smoking, diabetes, having a genetic propensity, a lowered immunity and certain medications. Early diagnosis and prevention are the best ways to help reduce your chances of developing the disease.
Deep pits and grooves can be found on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Such pits and grooves are termed fissures and in some patients can be deep and narrow meaning toothbrush bristles and streams of water are not able to clean them effectively. These form a favourable environment for bacteria to flourish, often resulting in tooth decay.
Fissure sealants are special materials used by dentists to seal off deep pits and fissures from the oral environment. Sealing the tooth surface protects fissures from bacteria and sugars to prevent decay from forming.